The Deal Mommy

How I Get My Family Seated Together on Full Flights (For Free)

full flights
I was going to comment on Joe’s post about paying $30 to make sure he sat next to his 3 year old but then I remembered I have a blog! His post made me LOL because in twelve years of flying with two kids I’ve never paid a penny and have never been separated from them. I don’t have magic status and I don’t always fly Southwest (which is an easy way to solve this problem, BTW). I have one magic trip up my sleeve…

I do absolutely nothing.

And I mean nothing.  If a flight looks at all full I don’t check in online at all.  At the airport I just hand over my ID with the kids in tow and magically get handed three tickets together- about 3/4 of the time in economy plus.

I don’t just employ this now that they’re older- I’ve been doing this since Deal Kid was 2 and it has NEVER failed me.  The bottom line is that the airlines don’t want you separated from your kids any more than you do and gate agents have latitude in seating individual passengers that were formerly in your disconnected seats in exit rows or giving them an upgrade. It’s just common sense for the airline.

Now I realize every rule has an exception and it’s possible I’m just the luckiest parent alive.  However, I don’t think so.  I think the lack of selecting seats works greatly in my favor.  On the off chance it didn’t work, I have real trouble imagining anyone out there wanting to sit next to your three year old, especially if they can trade their middle seat for your aisle in the process.  Joe, PLEASE don’t pay that seat fee again!

Do you employ the laissez-faire  of airline seating with kids as well?  What works for you?  I ‘d love to hear your take in the comments.

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11 thoughts on “How I Get My Family Seated Together on Full Flights (For Free)

  1. Pingback: Road tripping in the "age of Instagram" (barf!) and other great travel news - Points with a Crew

  2. Gomike

    Yes usually works but once it didn’t work for me out of Miami, we were all given middle seats on a 757 flying AA, agent said, not my problem. Thankfully some people were willing to switch with my asking.

  3. Eric

    We’ve gotten separated from our kids several times on European airlines without other passengers being willing to move, or with enough of a language barrier that we were unable to arrange to swap. But in the US, we’ve always sat together (2 adults, 3 kids) and have never paid a fee. Like you say, the airlines aren’t eager to separate families. More than once the gate agent has moved people around for us and called others to the podium for their new boarding passes.

  4. Russ

    Go easy on poor Joe!

    He wanted a guarantee, and guarantees cost money. He only paid $30 and doesn’t have to have that “what if” swirling around in his head from the moment he paid till departure.

    When you say you automatically get seated with your kids, you have to realize that different people get treated differently by different airline agents, sometimes for bad reasons.

    A mom who wants to sit with her kids naturally draws a good deal of sympathy from an experienced agent. Change the details to a newbie agent or a dad and the outcome can easily change.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Russ,
      Good point. Probably a bit of Mom bias…although the “clueless Dad” stereotype could work in a man’s favor here if played correctly.

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          NO NO NO! I meant “lean in to the stereotype”. Same way I lean in to the “frazzled mom” one when I want someone to carry my bags.

  5. Pingback: Daddy and Daughter in D.C. – Flights and a Fun Friday – asthejoeflies

  6. HaleyB

    One tip: ask.
    I see stressed out parents looking around wildly on planes, obviously trying to figure out if they can find seats together, who never ask anyone for help.

    I will always switch with you and so will my just-about-adults-now kids. I know tons of people that feel the same way. Ask, and if need be ask again.

    When my kids were little random acts of kindness saved me more times than I can count, so now I pay it forward whenever I can.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      YES. As a society we’ve become so insular we forget that we’ve all been there at one time or another in our lives.

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